The series takes place at Starlight Academy (スターライト学園 Sutāraito Gakuen), a prestigious school with both middle and high branches, where girls train to become idols and take part in various auditions, such as modeling, singing, and dancing. To participate in these auditions, players use Aikatsu cards, special cards which contain digitalised dresses and accessories from various manufacturers that are used in their auditions. How well they succeed is often dependent on choosing the right combination of cards. The video games cast players in the role of a new student, who must train to become an idol and reach the top.
The anime series follows a girl named Ichigo Hoshimiya, who becomes inspired by a performance by top idol Mizuki Kanzaki and enrolls in Starlight Academy alongside her best friend, Aoi Kiriya. Along with their classmate, Ran Shibuki, Ichigo Hoshimiya and Aoi Kiriya spend each day training for auditions and aiming to become top idols.
The second season of anime continues with a new rival school, Dream Academy (ドリームアカデミー Dorīmu Akademī) and their known idols, Seira Otoshiro, Kii Saegusa, Sora Kazesawa, and Maria Himesato. Aikatsu is more passionate because of the new unit, WM (Pronounced "Double M") with the new idol, Mikuru Natsuki and the top idol Mizuki Kanzaki. And Akari Oozora, the lucky idol who pass the test to transfer in Starlight Academy. This season system is Constellation System.
In season 3, Akari Oozora replace Ichigo as main protagonist, and with her friends, Sumire Hikami, Hinaki Shinjo, and Juri Kurebayashi, with new brands, Dreamy Crown and Sangria Rosa, Aikatsu is more and more passionate! This season system is Romance Story System
Aikatsu! Movie Edit
At the beginning of the movie, the top idols of Starlight School: Ichigo, Aoi, Ran, Otome, Yurika, Sakura, and Kaede are seen on stage performing SHINING LINE*, with freshman Akari brought up midway and continuing the performance. After the performance ended, Orihime was seen talking to Mizuki, asking her to work on as the producer for the upcoming event: Ichigo Hoshimiya Project, but Mizuki rejected the offer and left.
Later on backstage, the girls celebrate their success for the performance, and Orihime comes in and tells them the good news, deciding that Aoi will be the producer for the event, and quickly deciding on the event name to be: 大スター宮いちご祭り! (Big StarMiya Ichigo Festival!) We then cut to the press conference for the event, in which many scenes from the anime are used here. After seeing the press conference, Akari decides she wants to help Ichigo for the event, and after Soleil comes back from work, Akari runs to them to ask if she could help, and she was called right away. Later on back in Ichigo and Aoi's room, along with Ran and Akari, Powa-Powa Puririn comes in, wanting to help Ichigo prepare for the event, and doing their signature pose, though Shion doubts the post is suitable. Kaede then flies in from the window as she always does, as does Yurika who appears from the door with her vampire cape. Yurika brings along her ヘモグロビンZ (hemoglobin Z) drinks and Kaede, her signature Kaede Sushi. They all then talk about what events they should have, and they thought of having a new song. They believed that the person who writes the song should be someone that knows Ichigo well.
The person Ichigo thinks of will be no more than the cleaning guy, or secretly a band member, Naoto Suzukawa to write a song for her, but Naoto says he won't be the right person, but instead leads Ichigo, Aoi, and Ran to another person, Kanon, a local singer and songwriter. After listening to Kanon's street performance, the three girls were amazed, and felt so inspired and cheered up that they asked for Kanon to write a song for Ichigo. Kanon explains she would love to, but she never wrote songs for others, and she doesn't know much about Ichigo, who then suggests for her to learn more about her so she can write a song for her, and that she would perform for her right now. The three girls then performed Original Star☆彡 in their school uniforms, attracting some audiences. After the performance, Kanon became really inspired and interested in Ichigo, thus accepting the request. Back in Starlight School, in the school cafeteria, the three girls decided to order a supreme strawberry parfait, and Kanon did the same, but the portion size shocked her. She later asks what inspired Ichigo to became an idol, and we see flashbacks of her past. Kanon then has inspiration after listening to Ichigo's story and said that she would start making the song.
At night, Mizuki sent Ichigo a mail, telling her to meet at the event venue, Starise Stadium. Mizuki then tells Ichigo that she will stop being an idol, as she thinks that she has achieved her original goal, and being a top idol wasn't easy for her, and Ichigo frowns. The next day, after Aoi finished her recording for the Naughty Inspector, she sees Ichigo and Ran waiting for her, and Ichigo informs them about what Mizuki told her, and the both of them were also disappointed. Back at school, the rest of the crew said that they wanted to try to make a giant Ichigo parfait, and the three of them walk in. They soon all start talking about what roles they have, starting with Ichigo being the "heroine", Aoi being the producer, Ran being the fashion coordinator, Shion being the drama planner, Otome being the goods maker (with Akari helping her), Kaede being the choreographer, and Sakura creating the pamphlet. When Yurika thought she would get the best job, it turns out she got the job of calculation, which she is bad at.
While Ichigo, Aoi, Ran and Akari were practicing, Kanon came in and said the song was ready, and sang along while playing her guitar. Everyone thought it was really amazing, but Ichigo thought that something was missing, and she thought that the song was only towards her fans, when she really wanted to have the song send a message to Mizuki convincing her to stay as an idol. Kanon understands how she feels and says she will make the song perfect so it will be the way she wants. Later we see all of them working hard on their jobs, including Yurika. During a running training session, Dreamy Crown top designer Tsubasa-san was seen watching the girls.
After days of hard work, it's finally the day of the Ichigo festival, but Mizuki has yet to be seen, and the said to be made for Ichigo new Sleeping Beauty premium dress from Asuka Amahane was not received and had no updates on it. Yurika, Kaede, and Sakura decides to help bring the premium dress over, while Akari promises that she will bring Mizuki over. The Starmiya festival starts, and we see multiple performances such as: Idol Activities! (Rock Ver.), Diamond Happy, Happy Crescendo, and Friend. We then arrive at the special drama stage: Naughty Detectives Ichigo Ver., when Ichigo's crystal mic is stolen by the Swallowtail Thieves, it is up to Naughty Detective Shion and her dog Otome号(The Otome) to help find it back in time for the performance. It ends up with Otome sniffing a cake instead of the mic, and that she can't resist sweet things, and later sniffs up a candy house where they found the Choco-Pop Detectives who join in to help. They've searched through worlds like: the world of Alice in Wonderland (and ended up being chased the the playing card guards), and the Cool Angels' treasure temple. Later, Naughty Inspector Aoi comes in and tries to help. Up until now, with the next performance being the song that requires the new premium dress, everyone has no choice but to try to extend the performance for as long as they can. The Swallowtail Thieves appear and try to climb to the highest point of the stage, with the inspector following behind them. The final point was meters from the stage base, and everyone was worried for them. Meanwhile, during the performance, Akari went on a search for Mizuki, with first going to Moonlight Office, then following advice from Honoka Tsukikage, and looking for Mizuki in 14 places, finally finding her at the 14th place, where they saw each other while bungee jumping from a high tower. Meanwhile, Kaede, Sakura, and Yurika managed to get the premium cards and hurried back by first parachuting from the top of Angely Mountain. With the help of Maria, they got on her helicopter and arrived at where everyone is on the stage while they were confused with what to do next. Then, we have the final performance. Right before the performance, Akari managed to bring Mizuki in just in time.
The final song was Etude of Radiance and Ichigo's aura grew, Akari tells Mizuki that Ichigo is waiting for her on the stage while the fans were chanting for an encore. Mizuki then also invites Akari to perform with Ichigo with her. Akari was hesitant at first, but received encouragement to go on stage from Orihime and Ringo, with Ringo implying her identity as Masquerade's Miya to Akari. On the way to the stage, Akari meets Tsubasa, who said since he knew that Asuka was going to make a new premium dress, he cannot show defeat, and gave Dreamy Crown's Sleeping Beauty premium dress for Akari to wear. Mizuki never thought she would get to use the coord "Shine Witch Coord," which she designed and thought that this was definitely the perfect occasion. Ichigo was surprised and happy when the both of them [Akari and Mizuki] were on stage with her. Right after the performance, the idol ranking of Ichigo and Mizuki switched places. After the event, on stage, Mizuki tells Ichigo that she has reached the top where she used to be, that she feels inspired from Ichigo's song and decides to continue becoming an Idol and that if Ichigo ever lets up, she'll surpass her at the top. Ichigo then turns to Akari and gives her the crystal mic as a thank you gift for bringing Mizuki, and has Akari inherit her dream of becoming an idol. Afterwards, everyone celebrated the success backstage, including Mizuki. Ichigo takes Akari's hand and tells her that she is now waiting for Akari to reach the top where she is, and Akari promises that she'll be there soon. Everyone then holds hands to celebrate one last time.
The ending medley then cuts in, and we see 8-bit versions of stages and all the characters, with some bonus outfits in 8-bit form.
After the ending, Akari, Sumire and Hinaki stood on the stage and said that tomorow will have more and more Aikatsu! Finally, an announcement is made:
Please wait for the second Aikatsu! Movie!